Friday, May 14, 2010

Week One...not so good.

This post will be short and not so sweet. Why, you ask? Because after a week of protein shakes, giving up carbs and working out, I stepped on the scale this morning only to have it reveal that I have GAINED a pound!

This is not boding well for the whole diet-working out thing. I will keep it up, but, in all honesty, I am wired to be a results oriented person. I get bummed out easily. Can you tell??

Week two will start on Monday and I will remain faithful to the plan. But I better get some good results soon... or I may be forced to eat a Big Mac out of self pity.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Joey's Journey...So Far

Today I am writing something that has been placed on my heart. As many of you know, I am a home schooling mom of two. But what a lot of people don't know is that my youngest son is autistic.

Scary word, AUTISM. At least it has been for me. I wish I would have been one of those moms who could have embraced that diagnosis, right off the bat. I was not that mom. I denied the very idea that my son could have autism. Ironically, it was through my insistence that we had him evaluated by a developmental specialist. I knew there was something different about Joey. His symptoms in no way were classic. Well, that's not true. He had a few of the classic symptoms: he walked on his toes and his speech was delayed. But that was it. All of his other "symptoms" screamed ADHD. Little did I know there was a tie-in to the whole "spectrum disorder".

When I brought my initial concerns to the pediatrician, thinking perhaps there was a hearing deficit but wanting her to confirm it was NOT autism, she asked me, "Does he line things up? Does he flap his arms? Does he sit in the corner and rock?" No to all the above! And embarrassingly, I was so thrilled when she told me is was not autism.

Joey's problems only got worse when we put him into preschool. A preschool which was part of a local Christian church, and the same one that my oldest attended and excelled in. My poor boy! I kid you not, he would be sent home everyday with a disciplinary note. "Joey stood on the table when the other kids were coloring", "Joey climbed into the art cabinet, causing all the supplies to be spilled", "Joey refused to sit still in circle time", "Joey covered his ears when he was told to obey the teacher", "Joey turned the light switch on and off incessantly". "Joey would not walk to the playground in a straight line with his classmates." (Yeah I know, the last one is what got me, too.)

Now, in the whole spectrum of life, these issues seem quite mundane. But I was a second time mom, whose first child was literally the perfect student. What was going on with my youngest? Why was he so disobedient? I never, ever thought it was behavior to cope in a world which he felt so uncomfortable inside. My precious child was silently screaming that he was overwhelmed and "...mommy, please get me out out here!" He just didn't have the language to use words, yet.

I started getting angry with the Nazi tactics of this preschool. Everyone must sit in a circle and listen to the story, hands in their lap. Says who?! We must walk in a straight line to the playground, and there will be no skipping, jumping, running or pretending to be an airplane while in line. Why not?!

This was the beginning of our future home schooling journey, and I really had no idea! But God did! He knew where we would end up and what He wanted for Joey. I had not a clue! All I knew was that I must rescue my little angel from this world he felt so overwhelmed within. But then what??

We came across another preschool program at another Christian church which exuded love and developmental play as a means to learn. They loved Joey and became an extended part of our family. But in love, this time, they took me aside to discuss that there were obvious issues which we may want to have a specialist look into. This began our journey into documentation and questionnaires. The beginning of looking at things through discerning eyes, not defensive ones. It was time to get some answers.

Autism is a clinical diagnosis. That means that once everyone who has anything to do with the child fills out oodles of questionnaires, a doctor will spend an hour with your child and piece things together. It isn't ideal, and I had my doubts about the process, but that's what a clinical diagnosis is...and it's just another rung in the ladder of this journey.

We got the diagnosis. Joey had(has)High Functioning Autism, non-Aspergers, with ADHD. We received the whole explanation of what a Spectrum Disorder is. Somewhere during that conversation, my ears started to ring and I couldn't hear anything. My thoughts circled, my fears, my shattered dreams FOR my son played in my head so loudly that there was nothing else audible! It took months of piecing together what the diagnosis meant for him and for us. It took awhile for me to get over the denial. My father never accepted Joey's diagnosis, and instead blamed his behavior on our poor discipline. It's easier that way, I guess.

Fast forward three years. We have been blessed to have a team of amazing therapists work with Joey, and who have brought forth his language! In fact I love the fact that I will sometimes turn to him and ask him to please be quiet for a moment!! He talks non-stop! He is happily home schooled, and is above grade level on most of his subjects. He is confident and happy and probably destined for the stage! He is a lovely, funny character of a kid!

As a mom (and dad) we only want the best for our kids. Sometimes what's best isn't the same thing as what's easy. Sometimes the road is bumpy and scary and full of crocodiles... but when we give it to God on a daily basis it is doable. It becomes His plan and purpose and not ours. We look through His eyes at the future not the world's. I can tell you that God has big plans for my son...something that only he can accomplish. It will be because of his struggles that he succeeds, not in spite of them.

As a mom, I am a student of my little men. I see the world through their perspectives. One of those perspectives is different, but no less amazing!

Friday, May 7, 2010

C52K... And so it begins

Confession #1: I'm flabby! I am a Spanx wearing, hold-your-stomach-in, control top wielding woman in my 40's! I absolutely hate that gravity has attacked my body with vengeance. What did I ever do to deserve this? If you are a woman in my age group, you understand. A sisterhood of commiseration! Pass the M&M's...wait, no.

But the time has come to make some changes. I say that laughingly, because I wake up most Monday mornings and audibly say those same words! Diet-wise I am fine. Well, I am OK. I blow it from time to time. I have not given up my hydrogenated liquid fat(Coffeemate) that I use in my coffee each morning, because I LOVE the stuff. I adore cheese like some freaky Wallace and Gromit cartoon character, I hormonally require chocolate one week out of the month, and I enjoy an occasional glass of wine, at night. Besides that...I'm good.

My biggest issue is lack of exercise. Ironically, and rather unfairly, I don't sit down that often during the waking hours! I am constantly moving from one task to the next. My lap top stays open on the kitchen island as I frequently check email...but it's always done while I make lunch, or empty the dishwasher; which is in between teaching math, phonics or geography. But... evidently THAT is just not good enough! I need more. My body requires more movement. "Not fair!! Boo!!"~ Internal banter!

Confession #2: I hate exercise. Really...I do. I hate sweating. I have been known to shower before going to the gym because I like being clean. Yes, that means I take a second shower when I get home. Smelling good is a big deal to me. FYI, anyone I'm with needs to smell good too. Hygiene trumps pretty much everything else. So that has been the vicious cycle I have been on. I like walking, but I know I am not walking fast enough to do much good. Shhh...don't tell anyone, because I still enjoy that time to collect my thoughts and listen to my iPod. It's just that I have always known that I wasn't in the "zone", heart-rate wise. Maybe instead of walking I'm sauntering? Or strolling? It's definitely NOT power-walking! Needless to say, the results have been less than ideal.

Running. Ick. It takes me back to Freshman PE, where we had to run up and down the bleachers in the gym! We also ran the track, in front of the cute football players! You know, high school is hard enough on a social basis. Why must we endure THAT sort of humiliation?! I survived PE, but developed an innate hatred of running.

After doing a lot of research on the topic of getting into shape and getting healthier, I kept coming across the C25K program. An exercise program that promises to get my flabby derriere into shape and build endurance over a 9 week period...of running! Running!!

I protested (internally), and kept looking. I thought the exercise rubber band thingies looked promising. How hard could that be? Then I thought, maybe if I just stepped up my walking (ahem...strolling) program. Maybe I could get my already slow heartbeat up to the "zone". But I have given in to my better judgement, and will be starting the C25K program this coming Monday.

Why blog about it? Because I need accountability! I am the biggest cheater when it comes to two things: miniature golf and exercise. Perhaps the miniature golf issues will be covered in a separate blog post. (Oooh, something to look forward to!) I need to have you, my dear friends, hold me to this 9 week regimen. I need to do this.

I start this coming Monday. Pray!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Great Week!

I had such a fun week last week! On Monday I went up to Beverly Hills to meet with some great Christian entertainment/creative types, over the city's best pizza. There were so many of us, in fact, that we broke fire code! Who would have thought that there were that many Christians in LA?? We all had a ball talking about where God is leading each of us in our careers, and how He is using the very powerful area of film to reach not only the saved...but those who five years ago wouldn't have been caught dead inside a theatrical production listed as "Christian". Our God definitely has a plan!

On Saturday I attended the Biola Media Conference, up in Studio City. Again, I was surrounded by top notch media professionals. Producers, directors, marketers and distributors for some of the most influential Christian media organizations were there. I tried to not act like the newbie I am, but inside I was having fits of excitement mixed with a sureness that THEY could see how little I knew! I felt like a guppy swimming next to the big fish in an even bigger pond! It was humbling, but yet I was left wanting to learn all I could from those big fish. I felt like "Max the Minnow", for any of you parents who have read that book to your own children.

Aside from the sheer excitement of the day, there were some interesting workshops which I attended. One of the workshops was entitled, "Viewing Film from the Eye of the Critic". Very insightful! On the panel was Brett McCraken who writes for Christianity Today, and Justin Chang who writes for Variety. You would think that these two would have perspectives that would be worlds apart. But not at all. The bottom line... It's about the story. It's about how the film touches the audience. How it draws the audience in.

For years, Christian films have been synonymous with badly acted, overtly religious and preachy messages. The story becomes secondary (or perhaps even tertiary)to the perceived altar call at the end of the movie. But things are changing in Christian film!! I am so excited to be a part...or maybe just hanging out at a sidebar, during this advent of relevant, yet well crafted film.

I will leave you with one thing. There was a question addressed to the panel, and I thought it very interesting. It was this, "Would most of the American Christian public be repulsed to see a movie (even if it is written and made using a Christian Worldview) that was as RAW with situations as UNCOMFORTABLE to view as "Precious"?? I wonder if we are ready for the real deal, or if the majority of us want to continue to be spoon-fed light hearted, "good man against bad situation" themes. I wonder...